Global leaders at IGCF 2020: Government communication is key

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(Sharjah) – The opening session on the second day of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) 2020 heard global leaders and government officials on the role of government in effecting good communication practices to drive society forward.

In the presence of Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council; Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) opened the day’s proceedings, pointing out to the assembled officials and media professionals that effective government communication was essential to the development and stability of the country.

He said, “In order to ensure optimum welfare of all members of the UAE community and to ensure sustained national development, this government and this forum strive to engage in and popularise communication best practices. This year, IGCF held key discussions around identifying and developing specific communication strategies in the best interests of our people in keeping with the government objectives. We hope this forum adds value to the nationwide efforts being exerted in this area.”

Effective communication shared endeavour, not one-way street, says Canada’s former Commander-in-Chief In her keynote address, Michaëlle Jean, Canada’s former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief and former Secretary-General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, said that Canada and Sharjah had a similar development trajectory, since both economies represent oil-producing nations. She commended Sharjah for being “intensely modern, and at the same time, infused with a rich culture, warmth and hospitality.”

Jean went on to emphasise other similarities between the two nations, saying Canada’s brand was one of multiculturalism and intercultural exchange, much like the UAE. “Canada welcomes diversity and sees it as a strength,” she noted adding that her own life was an example as her prodigious rise up the ranks to hold prestigious public offices in Canada was preceded by her entry into the country as a refugee from Haiti.

Jean noted that during her time in office, cross-departmental and agency communications were essential to bring about progress and peace. The police and emergency services communicating with civil society, for instance, in order to safeguard the welfare of citizens.

She said, “Critically, effective government communications offer a conduit between organisations and citizens that create a relationship of trust and respect between them and their people. More and more populations are demanding to be seen and heard, to be taken into account. Governments need to listen as well as speak; effective communication is a shared endeavour, not a one-way street. To communicate effectively we must be persuasive, to be persuasive we must be truthful. And I would add, to be respectful we must listen, and to listen we must include. This is how we create a harmonious and cohesive society.”

Promoting a culture of engagement and communication individual responsibility, says communication strategist and author Moataz Mashal.

The young and inspirational Moataz Mashal – strategist, serial entrepreneur and bestselling author – addressed the forum next, and shared his own successful experience of using the power of communication to achieve his goals.